Summer is the high point of the vacation season, and every year, the question always arises, where should we go? The options are endless, but are usually restricted by the budget. With gas prices near the four dollar range, and lodging costs continually rising every year, for many, there is a personal austerity that affects travel plans. Long distance trip are out, more localized travel is in. Glitz is out, human-scaled, low impact eco-tourism is in. Disney and Vegas fakeness are out, small towns with history, heritage, and authentic downtowns are in.
Fortunately, within a short drive of the Capital Region there are some pretty awesome eco-tourism options available to us. Places where old school tradition meets the new school ideals of adventure and discovery. Close in, the excitement of the Saratoga Springs Race Track is a huge draw for thousands of people – from around the world. The Broadway strip swells with race fans and party-goers alike. Where else can you enjoy over 50 bars and restaurants and a slew of unique one-of-a-kind locally-owned shops, all in one square mile? As the saying goes, Saratoga is the summer place to be. Often a day trip for us locals, but it’s also a perfect overnight getaway so that you can fully immerse into the excitement. One option that is close to the action, and yet far way from the crowds is The Saratoga Farmstead B n B. Innkeepers Rosemary and Mariana have integrated eco-local concepts in everything they do, so a stay there will be a full immersion into beauty and sustainability. Get a close-up look at this treasure inside these pages.
Further to our north, the entire Adirondack Park is just an hour or two drive away, depending on how deep into it you want to go. The whole Park is an eco-tourism oasis, with authentic small towns and endless options for paddling, hiking and biking.. It’s also an international destination, particularly the village of Lake Placid with it’s Olympic heritage. Lake Placid, too, has a downtown strip filled with eclectic dining and shopping options. And what a setting – Lake Placid and the surrounding Adirondack High Peaks has got one of the most beautiful places on the planet. It has eco-tourism in it’s core. The whole town has embraced an eco-ethic, and one place in particular, The Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort has taken the idea of “going green” to the max. The owners have tweaked everything at their resort hotel and restaurant to embrace eco and local, and the result is a place that pleases people, place and planet. It’s truly fitting that the one of the greenest hotels on the planet is in one of the greenest places on the planet.
On the way to the Adirondacks, take a short detour and get off exit 18 to the city of Glens Falls. Haven’t been to Glens Falls in awhile? It’s a real downtown with a renewed streetscape filled with wonderful independently-owned shops and restaurants. Park the car and walk around a bit. Find one of the few LEED platinum certified buildings on the planet. Grab a fair trade coffee or a locally-brewed beer. Browse unique shops or catch a show at the Wood Theater. The new Glens Falls will surprise you.
And then there is this Publisher’s personal favorite local escape and eco-tourism destination - Washington County. The rural landscapes and small village are a trip back in time to a slower pace. Cell phone coverage is spotty, and that’s a good thing. Who needs it while floating down the Battenkill in a kayak, or browsing an antique store? The back roads are home to some of the best food products to be found anywhere. The kind of stuff that cost big bucks in Manhattan, where much of it is featured at the world’s best restaurants. But you can get it direct from the producer, and build relationship while you’re there. Premium grass-fed beef, artisan cheeses, New York State’s best milk and ice cream…it’s a foodie’s paradise. Sheldon Farms in Salem is an example of the gastronomic wonder that awaits you in Washington County. We take an up close and personal look at their enterprise within these pages. Washington County is a travel destination in and of itself. Come see for yourself.
o whatever you do, wherever you go this summer, remember…go eco…go local…go eco-local!
Last Updated (Tuesday, 14 August 2012 18:18)